WASHINGTON — Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack on July 15 announced the U.S. Department of Agriculture will provide more than $1.3 million in 22 matching grants to 18 states supporting agricultural market research and demonstration projects. The grants, which are provided under the Federal-State Marketing Improvement Program, will explore new and innovative approaches to marketing U.S. food and agricultural products and to improve the efficiency and performance of the marketing system.

“These projects reflect the new realities of today’s increasingly competitive global marketplace,” Mr. Vilsack said. “They are focused on developing innovative, more efficient and market-oriented ways to benefit our agricultural sector and support our nation's economy.”

Among the grants is $79,600 set aside for Montana State University, in cooperation with Washington State University, Fort Peck Community College, and others, to create a wheat price model and web site for use by wheat producers in a three-state region. The grant also will be used to conduct educational programs aimed at improving economic returns.

Additionally, the U.S.D.A. has awarded a grant of $59,735 to the North Dakota State University Bio Energy and Products Innovation Center to study current industry practices with regard to quality standards for biomass feedstocks, including corn stover, wheat straw, sorghum aftermath, and sugarcane bagasse, and using the results to develop schedules of premium and discounts, and a price reporting series.
For the full grants list visit www.usda.gov.